Australasia

‘Astounded’: former fire chief unloads on politicians over climate change inaction

Decorated Australian firefighter Greg Mullins says climate change is contributing to bushfires so horrendous that homes and lives cannot be protected, and the federal government will not acknowledge the link because it has failed on emissions reduction policy. Nicole Hasham The Sydney Morning Herald The extraordinary comments by Mr Mullins, a former NSW Fire and Rescue Commissioner, coincides with the Tuesday launch of the group Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action, which will lobby the major parties to drastically reduce fossil ... Read More »

Hayne’s failure to tackle bank structure means that in a decade or so another treasurer will have to call another royal commission

Every 10 to 15 years it’s the same. Ever since financial deregulation in the 1980s we’ve had a finance industry scandal followed by an inquiry, a quick fix, and a declaration that it shouldn’t happen again. Authors: The Conversation In the early 1990s there were royal commissions into the A$1.7 billion Tri-continental/ State Bank Victoria collapse, the A$3.1 billion State Bank of South Australia collapse and the WA Inc collapse which explored the interrelated activities at Rothwells bank, the A$1.8 ... Read More »

McGowan remains tight-lipped about refugee legislation despite removal of children

The government has finalised the removal of the last children from Nauru, as it battles to head off a parliamentary defeat on legislation to facilitate medical transfers from offshore. Michelle Grattan The Conversation Scott Morrison and Immigration Minister David Coleman said on Sunday: “There are now only four asylum seeker children on Nauru and they have all been approved for departure to the United States of… When parliament rose for its summer break a government filibuster had prevented amendments reaching ... Read More »

China’s research in artificial intelligence ‘far outranks’ Huawei threat, expert says

Experts are warning of the threat posed by China’s use of artificial intelligence (AI) to develop a survellience state, and say the risk of such authoritarian behaviour spreading to other parts of the world is increasing. Ian Burrows ABC While Chinese technology company Huawei is making daily headlines at the moment, Greg Austin, professor of cyber security, strategy and diplomacy at the University of New South Wales, said there were… “If I were asked which was the bigger threat from ... Read More »

No kids on Nauru is a milestone worth marking – but it’s hardly one for the trophy cabinet

Within days, no refugee child will be left on the island of Nauru. That this is a milestone worth marking – or even celebrating – should be a shock and a shame. Michael Koziol Brisbane Times These kids and their families had been there more than five years. Two thousand days. It had been so long that many people here in Australia finally seemed to agree enough was enough. Peter Dutton has always proclaimed – rightly – that he didn’t ... Read More »

Bronze baby Buddha found off WA’s north coast could be Ming treasure

Two West Australian men, while exploring the state’s north coast with a metal detector, have discovered a bronze Buddha figurine that could date back to the early Ming Dynasty. Emma Young WAtoday If authenticated, the infant Buddha will be of high value and potentially historically significant if its arrival on the coast could be shown to predate the first European visits to Australia’s western coast. Leon Deschamps and Shayne Thomson together run Finn Films, a company specialising in aquatic filming ... Read More »

Australian politics a billion-dollar business, say latest donation records

Newly-released donation and financial records show Australian politics is now a billion-dollar business. SBS Australian politics is now a billion-dollar business, the latest donation records reveal. The major parties raked in more than $154 million in political donations, returns on investments and asset sales in 2017/18. As well, their associated entities have lodged $926 million, according to Australian Electoral Commission figures released on Friday. West Australian Greens convener Chilla Bulbeck was the largest individual political donor last year, gifting almost ... Read More »

When should judges and courts be subject to scrutiny and criticism?

Speaking earlier this week, Supreme Court of NSW Chief Justice Tom Bathurst said it is entirely appropriate for the judiciary to be criticised for its performance by the media and, by extension, the… Jerome Doraisamy The Lawyers Weekly Addressing the Opening of Law Term Dinner in NSW, Chief Justice Bathurst said that to facilitate appropriate scrutiny and ensure that any criticism is informed, courts must operate as transparently as… “In that way, they become accountable to the other arms of ... Read More »

Behrouz Boochani wins $100,000 Victorian Prize for Literature

The winner of this year’s $100,000 Victorian Prize for Literature couldn’t be at the awards presentation on Thursday evening. Jason Steger The Sydney Morning Herald He was unavoidably detained elsewhere – on Manus Island, where he has been incarcerated for more than five years. Kurdish refugee Behrouz Boochani’s​ poetic memoir, No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison (translated by Omid Tofighian), not only won Australia’s richest writing prize, but also the $25,000 non-fiction prize in the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards, ... Read More »

‘Tip of the iceberg’: Video shows Rabbi abused in anti-Semitic road rage incident

The Anti-Defamation Commission chairman has called on state and federal governments to make countering anti-Semitism a priority after video surfaced of a Rabbi being abused in Melbourne. Maani Truu SBS The leader of a Jewish community group has said the recent road rage abuse of a Rabbi in Melbourne is just the “tip of the iceberg” when it comes to anti-Semitism in Australia and suggested that governments establish a… “It may be an uncomfortable truth for some, but anti-Semitism is ... Read More »

The whitewashing of Japan’s Naomi Osaka was no accident

This week, Naomi Osaka became the face of Japan to the world. By capturing the 2019 Australian Open, she has raced to No. 1 in the tennis world rankings, becoming the first Asian to ever achieve that honor. Baye McNeil The Washington Post But even as this exceptionally talented biracial, multinational and (as she phrased it) obviously tan woman was displaying why she’s a champion, one of her sponsors, the Japanese food brand Nissin, released an anime-style advertisement portraying Osaka ... Read More »

Hakeem Al-Araibi’s case is a test of world soccer’s human rights credentials. Here’s why

Hakeem Al-Araibi is a refugee from Bahrain who plays semi-professional soccer in Melbourne for Pascoe Vale. Sarah Joseph The Conversation He is a former member of the Bahraini national football team. He is currently detained in Thailand, the subject of an extradition request by Bahrain. His extradition to that country would breach his human rights against refoulement (the forcible return of refugees) and torture. Al-Araibi’s case has become a crucial test of world football’s commitment to human rights. Is this ... Read More »

‘Worse than last time’: Darling fish kill strikes again at Menindee

Hundreds of thousands of fish have died in the Darling River at Menindee, the second such event in three weeks, in what Niall Blair, the fisheries minister, described as “an environmental catastrophe”. Peter Hannam The Sydney Morning Herald Graeme McCrabb, a Menindee resident who was again among the first to raise the alarm, said the latest die-off could be “worse than last time”. “It’s started off bigger than three weeks ago,” Mr McCrabb told the Herald on Monday. While the ... Read More »

‘I pay taxes, I play football, I love Australia’: Hakeem al-Araibi speaks

Bangkok: Refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi has begged the Australian government to “keep fighting for me” and stop his extradition to Bahrain on what supporters say are politically-motivated charges. James Massola The Age Sixty-three days after arriving in Thailand for a one week honeymoon with his wife, the Melbourne man – who remains in detention pending an extradition request to his birth country – says “I am not good, I am afraid and alone and I miss my wife”. In an ... Read More »

Unhappy, unhealthy lives aren’t fair exchange for higher incomes

In his Australia Day address, social researcher Hugh Mackay said that “the Australia I love today – this sleep-deprived, overweight, overmedicated, anxious, smartphone-addicted society – is a very different place from the Australia I… Ross Gittins Brisbane Times He identified three big changes: the gender revolution, increasing disparity in wealth, and social fragmentation. He approves of the first, but laments that we’re “learning to live with a chasm of income inequality” and that social fragmentation means Australians are become “more ... Read More »

We need a robust patriotism, not ‘my country, right or wrong’

Love can be hard to explain. There’s no formula to how it works, but you know it when it’s there. You know when it moves you, or when it gets you worked up. Tim Soutphommasane The Age What’s true for a love of a person is also true for a love of country. Most of us will have an affection for Australia. It isn’t always something we find easy to express. Emotions rarely are. Patriotism comes in many forms. The ... Read More »